Light fall brings a new depth to platforming
Light Fall is one of those games that if you don’t closely follow the indie scene you probably haven’t heard of. It’s a small game by indie developer James Bishop, of Bishop games. Though its out for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, most major outlets have hardly covered it. Which is a shame because it’s a solid fun platformer with some unique new mechanics that I love. Imagine if you were able to add a platform anywhere to your favorite platformer game, well that’s exactly what Light Fall lets you do. Imagine the speed of super meatboy, smashed together with a whimsical world or light and dark, with neon highlights, and you can start to visualize what Light Fall looks like.
The games beauty goes farther than just its 2D mono-chrome pallet, and you can really feel the love and dedication that this game was crafted with. Like many platformers before it, Light Fall places an emphasis on speed and precision, but it also adds a little help in the form of a box you can drop to save yourself from doom. Tradition dictates that platformers have solidly built levels, sometimes there are moving elements, but the levels themselves rarely change. Light Fall bucks this by letting you change the level so you can better finish it. Its an fascinating mechanic that had me trying a bunch of routes that I would have ignored if I had been playing a traditional platformer.
That’s not all the separates Light Fall from other platformers, it also has a great story. Most of the story is told through ambient storytelling,, but there is also some dialog and a narrator. I appreciate a good story no matter what type of game it is in, so points awarded here for not just making a blank protagonist who is jumping, or perhaps even worse a story where you are just heading to rescue someone from something.
Gameplay wise your not going to see anything crazy here. The new mechanic that Light Fall banks on keeping people interested with is the ability to place your own platform in the level. The game calls this ability the shadow core. As you progress across the first level, your shadow core powers up and you eventually gain the ability to use it more and to summon different platforms.
Throughout the game I never felt like anyone was holding my hand, which in this case is a very good thing, because I absolutely despise hand holding games. After a brief tutorial I was basically given free rein on the games beautifully deigned levels. Obstacles on levels were mostly static, but there are a few “enemies” that you have to defeat along the way. Overall Light Fall is a fast game, that requires the precision that I love from platformers like Super Meat Boy. Levels are also very vertical, since you can drop platforms underneath yourself, there is much less need for long levels, the game feels more three dimensional.
Difficulty could use a little tweaking. I would say its not unfair to call this game a darksouls level of punishing. All speedy platformers have a degree of difficulty that higher than usual, but Light Fall truly takes this up a notch. Becuase you are often required to drop a platform to cross a gap (or two or four) your control has to be precise and timed perfectly almost every jump. I have no doubt some people will find this exhilarating and amazing, and it does feel great when you nail that perfect combo of jumps, but I often found myself frustrated and wishing I could just explore this beautiful world more and die less.
The story isint long, and you wont be spending 40+ hours in this game, but if your looking for a fast and fun platformer I would for sure say Light Fall is worth a look. The game is out now for Switch and PC on the Steam platform for 15$